- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice
Lynn earned a bachelor's degree at Fresno State. In 1953, Lynn was drafted into the Army and stationed in Verdun, France for two years. Following his service in the Army, he earned a master's degree in viticulture at UC Davis.
Lynn, who grew up on his family's 10-acre farm in Selma, served as director for UC Cooperative Extension in Tulare County for many years and was involved with California's water issues. He also served as an ambassador for the World Bank during the Cold War era and traveled to Eastern Europe to provide agricultural aid and assistance. He loved his work and loved being able to help farmers and people in need.
Susan Laughlin, former UCCE director in Contra Costa County who worked with Lynn, wrote to Lynn's children, “Tulare County was the pinnacle of agricultural activity in the entire state so the fact that your father was County Director there automatically made a statement. But Curt made more of a statement than any other Director of his era – and that's saying a lot because the power of the counties in our system was never greater than when he served. As a result, he is known within my generation as the most effective, politically influential and innovative of all Directors. We were all awed by him!”
Lynn was politically savvy, according to Laughlin. “The good part, of course, is that he had powerful political allies who spoke for the Division in the legislature and with the Governor,” Laughlin wrote. “The ‘bad' part is that he scared the pants off the Division's high-level administrators because he could darned well say what he wanted, get it most of the time, and never suffer any consequences. I doubt there was another Director with more influence in the state at that time.”
Laughlin said she is grateful for Lynn's career advice.
“I was a young, social scientist in an organization dominated by hard-science men. When I took over as Program Director for the Food, Nutrition, Family and Consumer Sciences program, which included ALL the women in the organization at that time (except for the 4-H advisors), I was the only woman in a leadership position. He approached me with an idea to get Home Advisors involved in learning about California agriculture and contributing to it in innovative ways. He helped me set up a conference to introduce them to field operations, packing houses, food processing plants, and farm equipment. They had more fun at that conference than they had had in a very long time.”
In 1997, after retiring, Lynn and his wife Genada moved to North Bend, Wash. to be closer to sons Curtis Day Lynn Jr., and John Noland Lynn and granddaughters Kali and Hallie.